Black Veterans Day

Nov. 7 has been declared Black Veterans Day in The City of Buffalo. It was a proclamation signed by Mayor Byron Brown.

Celebrity Veterans

  • mf Morgan Freeman served in the U.S. Air Force  from 1955-59 and was a radar technician. During fighter pilot training, he had a “distinct feeling he was sitting in the nose of a bomb … I had this very clear epiphany — You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this.”   it Ice-T: After high school, Ice-T struggled to support his girlfriend and daughter so he joined the Army where he served four years in the 25th Infantry Division.   su Sheryl Underwood joined the Air Force Reserve in the 1980s. “[My commanding officers] seemed to get me to do things that I was afraid of, like fear of heights. They looked at me as a leader all the time.”   bg Berry Gordy and Marvin Gaye: Gordy dropped out of school to pursue a career as a boxer. But his boxing career was cut short when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Gaye left home at 17 to join the Air Force in 1956.  Gaye quickly learned he didn’t like the military lifestyle and according to his biography, he faked mental illness and was discharged shortly afterward.   mc MC Hammer: Long before he wore the infamous “Hammer Pants,” MC Hammer wore a U.S. Navy uniform.  After a brief time at a local college in Oakland, CA. Stanley Kirk Burrell spent three years as an Aviation Storekeeper 3rd Class. 

Black Military Stats

    • There are 2.15 million Black military veterans nationwide.
    • 30% of active-duty enlisted women in 2016 were Black.
    • 23% of active-duty enlisted men in 2016 were Black.
    • Black people are most represented in the Army, least represented in the Coast Guard.
    Source (Council on Foreign Relations)

“The Black Regiment”

  • From “The Black Regiment” George H. Boker, 1863   “Now,” the flag-sergeant cried,
    “Though death and hell betide,
    Let the whole nation see
    If we are fit to be
    Free in this land; or bound
    Down, like the whining hound –
    Bound with red stripes of pain,
    In our cold chains again!”
    Oh, what a shout there went
    From the black regiment!  …  Hundreds on hundreds fell;
    But they are resting well;
    Scourges, and shackles strong
    Never shall do them wrong.
    Oh, to the living few,
    Soldiers, be just and true!
    Hail them as comrades tried;
    Fight with them side by side.
    Never, in field or tent,
    Scorn the black regiment!  

First to Fight – The American Revolution

  • ri The First Rhode Island Regiment, the first Continental Army unit largely comprised of Black New Englanders, showcased African Americans’ skill as soldiers and commitment to their brethren on the battlefield. In the late 1770s, dwindling manpower forced George Washington to reconsider his original decision to ban Black people from the Continental Army. So in 1778, a Rhode Island legislature declared that both free and enslaved Black people could serve. To attract the latter, the Patriots promised freedom at the end of service. according to aFrench military officer there, as “most neatly dressed, the best under arms and the most precise in all their maneuvers.” 

The 54th Infantry – Civil War

  • 54 Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment: The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, nicknamed the “Swamp Angels”, was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official African-American units in the United States during the Civil War. Of the regiment, Governor John A. Andrew said: I know not where, in all of human history, to any given thousand men in arms there has been committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory.” The 54th Regiment was the subject of the 1989 film Glory.

Buffalo Soldiers

  • bs Buffalo Soliders were African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War. In 1866, six all-Black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the Army Organization Act. Their main tasks were to help control the Native Americans of the Plains, capture cattle rustlers and thieves and protect settlers, stagecoaches, wagon trains and railroad crews along the Western front. They were also among America’s first national park rangers.

The Harlem Hellfighters – World War I

  • hh The Harlem Hellfighters, the most celebrated African-American regiment in World War I, confronted racism even as they trained for war, helped bring jazz to France, then battled Germany longer than almost any other American infantry men. Like their predecessors in the Civil War and successors in the wars that followed, these African-American troops fought a war for a country that refused them basic rights – and their bravery stood as a rebuke to racism, a moral claim to first-class citizenship.

Tuskegee Airmen – World War II

  • ta The Tuskegee Airmen: The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. Their impressive performance earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces. They were the subject of the 2012 film Red Tails.

Black Women and Breast Cancer:

Black Women and Breast Cancer

The African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA) raises critical breast cancer awareness and empowers Black women with lifesaving information.

In October 1990, nine Black women came together to discuss their personal experiences with breast cancer, creating the African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA) in Minnesota. “The big C” was a silent foe in the community. There was no culturally specific information about breast cancer and Black women or that Black women are diagnosed younger than age 45 with aggressive breast cancers due to delays in detection for various reasons. Too many Black women of all ages are suffering and losing their lives from breast cancer due to health inequalities.

Currently, 1 in 12 Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer by age 80 during their lifetime, compared to the overall numbers of one in eight American women. Black women still hold the record for higher breast cancer death rates, although survival rates are increasing.

Raising awareness

Black women are now more aware of breast cancer and why it is important for them to take action in their self and clinical breast examinations, and learn about their family cancer history and mammograms. However, action is not historically the first line for most Black women if they find unusual changes in their breast(s). Cancer treatments, disbelief, fear of death, lack of insurance, knowledge, myths, other health and lifestyle issues, plus socioeconomic issues still keep Black women from seeking the medical help they need. The emotional and physical toll of breast cancer treatments can stop a woman in her tracks, anticipating chemotherapy, surgeries, losing a breast, radiation therapy, etc. — effects that can actually be lifesaving. Sadly, fear of losing her hair, femininity, or life results in too many women dying needlessly.

For 32 years, the goal of the AABCA has been to educate and support Black women diagnosed with breast cancer, along with men, families, and communities. Because of the severe impact breast cancer has on the Black population, AABCA provides an emotional and social network through events and Zoom support groups. AABCA empowers people to reach out to “share, support, and survive” through the trials and tribulations of breast cancer.

It takes a community

Recently, funding from the Minnesota Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation has helped increase AABCA’s efforts in awareness, and health and racial disparities that affect Black women. In addition, AABCA has collaborated with the Breast Believe campaign, led by The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation (TLFF), that aims to educate communities about early detection, prevention, symptoms, treatments, resources, and access surrounding a breast cancer diagnosis.

While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not everything looks pretty in pink as more women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer, devastating families and our communities. As a two-time, 32-year breast cancer survivor, the ruthless road of this disease is never ending, claiming victims and taking no prisoners. But patients and survivors are taking on the fight one day at a time and living our lives the best we can.

The Premier Networking and Hiring Experience for Professionals of Color in the Twin Cities

Tuesday, October 17th

Minneapolis Convention Center
The Ballroom




People Of Color Career Fair founder, Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, is thrilled to see the Twin Cities embrace the importance of not working in silos. We want to thank everyone who made the 10th edition of the People Of Color Career Fair the most successful yet !

This was the first time that LatinoLEAD, ConnextMSP, Genesys Works, Omega Psi Phi, and Summit Academy OIC were also in the room. Sharon wanted to make sure organizations benefit from being in the same room with our region’s top employers.

The question is, will you be in the room in October as we expand to the Ballroom?


At U.S. Bank, we foster a culture that draws strength from our employees’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives and we’re deeply committed to being a place where employees feel respected, valued, and empowered to be their authentic selves.

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At Andersen, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace where employees feel respected, valued, and driven to realize their full potential. Our more than 10, 000 employees are empowered to imagine what’s possible and do what’s right.

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Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority at Midco. We want to work with the top talent in our industry – and seek team members who will contribute to the growth and quality of our company. We value the fresh ideas and solutions that diversity cultivates, and know that input from multiple points of views is an essential.

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Kevin McCarthy considers resigning from the House before the end of his term

The deposed former speaker has made clear he plans to stay at least through the speakership election before ending his House career, two people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO.

Kevin McCarthy speaks at news conference.

McCarthy speaks at a news conference after the House voted to remove him as speaker Oct. 3 on Capitol Hill. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

Kevin McCarthy is considering resigning from the House before the end of his term, two people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

The deposed former speaker has made clear he plans to stay at least through the speakership election that begins next week before ending his House career, these people said, in order to help the party steady itself after a seismic shakeup.

In a short media gaggle with reporters after publication, McCarthy said he planned to run for reelection, had not considered resigning and he will stick around: “I’m still here finishing my job.”

“No, I’m not resigning. I’m staying, so don’t worry,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to keep the majority, I’m going to help the people I got here and we’re going to expand it further.” McCarthy also said he had spoken to both Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) about the race to succeed him.

McCarthy: ‘I’m not resigning’

In a closed-door meeting with his conference, hours after eight House Republicans united with Democrats to strip him of the gavel, the Californian signaled that he wanted to return home.

“I’m going to spend time with my family,” he said, though the remarks were largely drowned out by lawmakers’ shouting, according to Republicans familiar with the meeting.

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“I might have been given a bad break, but I’m still the luckiest man alive,” he told them.

At the same time, some Republicans are reviving his name as a speaker candidate, even as it remains unclear whether he’d accept it.

They argue no one else could get the 218 Republican votes needed to be speaker, as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise enter next week’s race as frontrunners that still might not be able to get over the top.

First defiant, then done: McCarthy’s tone shifted amid ousting

The “only workable outcome is to restore Kevin McCarthy as Speaker under party rules that respect and enforce the right of the majority party to elect him,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday. “This depends entirely on several of the dissidents to disenthrall themselves from their decision and to repair the damage before it is too late. I appeal to them to act while there is still time.”

McCarthy is still expected to be active in GOP matters, whether he’s in the House or out.

“I’ll do anything I can to help almost all of you. Don’t worry, I’ve raised a helluva lot of money in the last hour,” he told his members during the Tuesday closed-door conference meeting, when he made clear he would not seek the gavel again.

US Open 2023: Coco Gauff wins 1st Grand Slam title with wild comeback vs. Aryna Sabalenka

Coco Gauff, of the United States, reacts during a match against Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, during the women's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Coco Gauff has her first Grand Slam title.

Coco Gauff has been earmarked as the future of women’s tennis since she was 15 years old. That future arrived at the US Open on Saturday, in the form of her first Grand Slam championship.

The 19-year-old American outlasted No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, the new top-ranked player in the WTA, in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 thriller in the US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. She becomes the 11th teenager to ever win a Grand Slam singles title, and the question now becomes how many more are in front of her.

After shaking hands with Sabalenka and taking a moment to feel the love, Gauff’s first move was to embrace her family in the stands:

“Today was the first time I’ve ever seen my dad cry,” Gauff said to ESPN after the match. “He doesn’t want me to tell y’all that, but he got caught in 4K. He thinks he’s so hard, but you know he’s not … My dad took me to this tournament [years ago], sitting right there watching Venus and Serena [Williams] compete, so it’s really incredible to be on this stage.”

Saturday was Gauff’s third win of the tournament after losing the first set. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the only other person to win the US Open in that fashion was Gauff’s idol, Serena Williams, who did it at 17 years old in 1999.

Coco Gauff overcomes a powerful start from Aryna Sabalenka

It took an epic comeback against Madison Keys for Sabalenka to reach the final as well, but there was no slow start by the Belarusian this time. Sabalenka opened the match by breaking Gauff in front of a highly partial New York crowd looking for the first American US Open champion since Sloane Stephens in 2017.

Gauff broke Sabalenka back three games later, but that was the last game she’d win in the first set. Sabalenka, one of the hardest hitters on tour, showed a form so overpowering that even Gauff’s speed couldn’t neutralize her.

That was particularly clear in a wild point as Sabalenka tried to consolidate a break. Gauff covered every area of the court, but that gave Sabalenka the opportunity to hit her harder and harder:

Gauff got the momentum change the crowd was looking for early in the second set, breaking Sabalenka to go up 3-1 and holding serve from there to take the second set. Gauff got steadily more aggressive rather than let Sabalenka pound away at the ball in extended rallies, and started winning some truly wild points:

Gauff kept up the pressure in the third set, breaking Sabalenka twice to take a commanding lead. She committed zero unforced errors in the first four games of the set, while Sabalenka committed nine as her composure started fading.

By the end of the match, Gauff was showing the kind of form that seemed impossible to beat. Her speed alone made her a nightmare for opponents to put away, but when combined with the shot-making she showed against Sabalenka, it becomes clear why so much has been expected from her over the past four years.

All of those parts finally came together in New York this year. As long as Gauff can keep them together, there’s no limit to what can be expected from her over the next decade-plus.

Coco Gauff goes from 15-year-old breakout star to 19-year-old champion

The vast majority of tennis fans first heard the name Coco Gauff in 2019, when she upset one of her idols Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon. Then the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history, Gauff became the youngest player to win a match in the singles draw at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati in 1991.

Gauff compounded the hype by reaching the fourth round of that tournament, then the third round at the 2019 US Open and the fourth round of the 2020 Australian Open. Her next breakthrough came later, reaching quarterfinals in events like the French Open, the Canadian Open and the Italian Open in 2021, then her first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 2022.

It seems so natural now that Gauff has hoisted her trophy, but the journey between tennis prodigy and tennis star has never been an easy one. There is no telling how a player will develop as they go through their teenage years, what weaknesses opponents will find, how their body will hold up in elite competition. A lot more goes into winning a Grand Slam title than surviving seven straight matches, and Gauff had to go through all of that.

After four years of waiting, Gauff won her first WTA 1000 event at the Cincinnati Open last month and didn’t stop there.

“Honestly, thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said. “A month ago, I won a 500 and people said I would stop at that. Two weeks ago, I won a 1000 title and people said that was the biggest it was going to get. Three weeks later, I’m here with this trophy right now.”

“Those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it.”

Simone Biles wins a record 8th US Gymnastics title a full decade after her first

When the gymnastics star is at her best, as she was on Sunday night while winning her record eighth U.S. championship, she feels like she’s in a “fever dream.” It’s not autopilot exactly. It’s more of a vibe. A flow.

It’s in those moments that the doubts that still plague her almost daily even now, a decade into a run of unprecedented excellence, fade away.

There is no thinking. No overanalyzing. No “ twisties.” All of it recedes into the background. Her coach Laurent Landi calls it a skill. Biles, even at 26, won’t go that far. Maybe because she simply doesn’t want to.

The return of Simone Biles

She spent a long time, far too long, getting caught up in her head. She’s intent on not doing it this around.

So yeah, she was smiling midway through a floor routine that made almost every other competitor on the floor stop what they were doing to watch and drew a standing ovation from a portion of the sellout SAP Center crowd. No, she can’t explain why. When her coaches told her she’d nailed every tumbling pass, she was clueless.

“It just doesn’t feel real for some reason,” Biles said.

It is. Remarkably.

Frome left, Shilese Jones, Simone Biles and Leanne Wong pose for a photograph after placing second, first and third place, respectively, in all-around competition at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
Frome left, Shilese Jones, Simone Biles and Leanne Wong pose for a photograph after placing second, first and third place, respectively, in all-around competition at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Ten years ago she was a teenage prodigy who doesn’t remember much from her ascension to the top of her sport. She was always fixated on the next thing. World championships. Team camps. The Olympics.

Now she’s a 26-year-old newlywed determined to enjoy this. For real. Six months ago she wasn’t sure she was all in. Three weeks ago she returned to competition in Chicago feeling as if she was going to “throw up” every time she saluted the judges.

The woman who posted a two-day all-around total of 118.40 this weekend in northern California — four points clear of runner-up Shilese Jones and well ahead of Florida junior Leanne Wong in third place — is not ready to hit fast forward. She won. She’s letting herself be happy this time. That didn’t always happen before.

Simone Biles competes on the floor exercise during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
Simone Biles competes on the floor exercise during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.

“We really try to celebrate our success individually and as a team just so that in a couple of years you can remember this,” she said. “Because I really don’t remember a lot from the past.”

She knows that gymnastics won’t last “forever” even if, for her in a way it has.

Peaks aren’t supposed to last this long. Most elite gymnasts at 26 — at least the ones who haven’t retired — are simply hoping to hold on to what they have.

The athlete who became the oldest woman to win a national title since USA Gymnastics began organizing the event in 1963 is not interested in that. Landi called Biles’ floor routine in the finals the best he’d ever seen her do.

“I think it’s maturity,” he said.

Biles’ eight crowns moved her past Alfred Jochim, who won seven between 1925-33 when the Amateur Athletics Union ran the championships and the men’s competition included rope climbing.

Yes, really.

The sport has come a long way over the last century. No one has spent more time at the far end of the Bell curve than Biles, whose singular talents continue to push boundaries.

She’s training smarter these days, her only real acquiescence to the miles she’s put on it for the last 20 years. While she remains one of the most visible active athletes in the Olympic movement, she’s making it a point not to let the world in on every single little thing as she eyes a trip to Paris next summer.

Biles joked it’s because people are “nosy.” The reality is, she’d just like a little privacy.

“I like to keep (my goals) personal, just so that I know what I’m aiming for,” Biles said. “I think it’s better that way. I’m trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past. I think it’s working so far, so I’m going to keep it secretive.”

There appears to be more balance in her life, leaning into the “it’s just gymnastics” mantra that helped fuel her rise.

Next stop is Antwerp in late September, where Biles will try to add to the 25 world championship medals — 18 of them gold — she’s captured so far.


How to get to the Minnesota State Fair

Parking and shuttle service are free at these 31 locations. However, if you are located farther out in the Twin Cities, the State Fair Express Bus service is operating with Metro Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, and SouthWest transit. Check this website for more information. If you are parking at the fairgrounds, it is first-come, first-serve. The lot rates are $20 for vehicles and $15 for motorcycles. The attendants will accept cash or credit/debit cards. Visit this site for a parking lot map.

For bicyclists, three free parking areas are available here. App-based ride services may drop off and pick up at the north and south ends of the fairgrounds. Taxis are also expected to be running and will operate out of Loop Gate No. 9. Find out more information here.


Daily schedule and hours of operation

Fairgoers looking for daily events to attend can find them here. Otherwise, if you are looking for food, beverages, merchandise, and deals, take a look at this website for food and this one for shops. The fair has released an app that can be used to search and find out all this information, instructions for downloading can be found here.

RELATED: Minnesota State Fair announces new foods for 2023

Also, if you are looking for an accessible way to get around, take a look at this guide. Momentum Refresh is accommodating its “first universal design mobile restroom” which is designed for easy accessibility and inclusivity. This restroom will be available on opening day and is open to staff and fairgoers.


Aug. 24 – Sept. 3: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Labor Day: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Aug. 24 – Sept. 3: 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Labor Day: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

To buy online tickets, the website launches at 6 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m., with the exception of Labor Day, which ends at 6 p.m. Barn hours are variable; check this site for specific hours.


Saving your buck at the State Fair

Buy your tickets for the pre-fair discount admission price of $15. This could save you $3 off adult admission and $1 off seniors and kids. These may be purchased online or on the phone at 1-800-514-3849.

Children age 4 and under are always free. Mighty Midway and Kidway ride and game tickets are $20 for a 25-ticket Fun Card.

You may also purchase all of these items and a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book at the fairgrounds or some Cub locations until August 23.

Regular admission prices are $18 for adults (13-64), $16 for seniors (65+), and $16 for kids (5-12). Mighty Midway and Kidway tickets are $1 per ticket, $30 for 33 tickets, and $60 for 70 tickets during the fair. The Blue Ribbon Bargain Book is $5 and can be bought at the State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts. About 100 coupons are included in this book, with at least 30% off food, merchandise, and attractions. You may preview the book at this site.

Special deal days

On opening day, these discounts can be applied to admission tickets when bought at the gate. Adult tickets are $16, and seniors’ and kids’ tickets are $13. Monday, Aug. 28 and Thursday, Aug. 31 are declared Seniors Days, during which the $13 admission ticket rule applies again.

Tuesday, Aug. 29 will mark Military Appreciation Day. Active military and family, retired and veteran military, and their spouses can purchase tickets for $13 at the gate if they provide military documentation.

Kids Days are on Wednesday, Aug. 30 and Monday, Sept. 4. Tickets bought at the gate will cost $13.

Also, vendors will host deals for all visitors on these special deals days. Those participating are expected to have signage and can be found in the Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide. Last chance deals will occur on closing day, Sept. 4. Plus, each of the days above will have deals for the Mighty Midway and Kidway. Early Bird specials close at 1 p..m. on Aug. 25, Aug. 28, Aug. 31, and Sept. 1.


Free entertainment, exhibits and attractions

If you are looking for something new experiences at the fair, you can find those here. Live music will continue each day at the fair, look here for more information on which artists or bands are playing. For families, the fair has posted a kids guide. Whether you want to take photos, need some extra cash, or can’t find something- the amenities FAQ is available here.

The daily parade begins at 2 p.m. and features high school marching bands. Also, there are multiple-day sponsors which can be found at the corner of Wright Avenue and Underwood Street. When planning to stay until the evening, nightly fireworks will go off at the fairgrounds.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together has everything you may need for free while you are there. Check the fair website for additional information including free trolley rides, information booths, daily schedules and ID wristbands for children, free Wi-Fi, and first aid.

Paul Reubens, best known for portraying Pee-wee Herman, has died

The iconic actor and comedian died Sunday night after a private six-year struggle with cancer.

LOS ANGELES — Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian whose Pee-wee Herman character — an overgrown child with a tight gray suit and an unforgettable laugh — became a 1980s pop cultural phenomenon, has died at 70.

Reubens, who’s character delighted fans in the film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and on the TV series “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” died Sunday night after a six-year struggle with cancer that he kept private, his publicist said in a statement.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” Reubens said in a statement released Monday with the announcement of his death. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”

Created for the stage, Pee-wee with his white chunky loafers and red bow tie would become a cultural constant in both adult and children’s entertainment for much of the 1980s, though an indecent exposure arrest in 1991 would send the character into entertainment exile for years.

Actor Paul Reubens portraying Pee-wee Herman poses for a portrait while promoting “The Pee-wee Herman Show” live stage play, Dec. 7, 2009.

The staccato giggle that punctuated every sentence, catch phrases like “I know you are but what am I” and a tabletop dance to the Champs’ song “Tequila” in a biker bar in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” were often imitated by fans, to the joy of some and the annoyance of others.

Reubens created Pee-wee when he was part of the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings in the late 1970s. The live “Pee-wee Herman Show” debuted at a Los Angeles theater in 1981 and was a success with both kids during matinees and adults at a midnight show.

The show closely resembled the format the Saturday morning TV “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” would follow years later, with Herman living in a wild and wacky home with a series of stock-character visitors, including one, Captain Karl, played by the late “Saturday Night Live” star Phil Hartman.

HBO would air the show as a special.

Reubens took Pee-wee to the big screen with 1985’s “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” which takes the character outside for a nationwide escapade. The film, in which Pee-wee’s cherished bike is stolen, was said to be loosely based on Vittorio De Sica’s Italian neo-realist classic, “The Bicycle Thief.” Directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Hartman, the movie was a success, grossing $40 million, and continued to spawn a cult following for its oddball whimsy.

A sequel followed three years later in the less well-received “Big Top Pee-wee,” in which Pee-wee seeks to join a circus. Reubens’ character wouldn’t get another movie starring role until 2016’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” for Netflix. Judd Apatow produced Pee-wee’s big-screen revival.

His television series, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” ran for five seasons, earned 22 Emmys and attracted not only children but adults to Saturday-morning TV.

Jimmy Kimmel posted on Instagram that “Paul Reubens was like no one else — a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met.”

Both silly and subversive and championing nonconformity, the Pee-wee universe was a trippy place, populated by things like a talking armchair and a friendly pterodactyl.

Director Guillermo del Toro tweeted Monday that Reubens was “one of the patron saints of all misfitted, weird, maladjusted, wonderful, miraculous oddities.”

The act was a hit because it worked on multiple levels, even though Reubens insists that wasn’t the plan.

“It’s for kids,” Reubens told The Associated Press in 2010. “People have tried to get me for years to go, ‘It wasn’t really for kids, right?’ Even the original show was for kids. I always censored myself to have it be kid-friendly.

“The whole thing has been just a gut feeling from the beginning,” Reubens told the AP. “That’s all it ever is and I think always ever be. Much as people want me to dissect it and explain it, I can’t. One, I don’t know, and two, I don’t want to know, and three, I feel like I’ll hex myself if I know.”

Reubens’ career was derailed when he was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult movie theater in Sarasota, Florida, the city where he grew up. He was handed a small fine but the damage was incalculable.

FILE – In this Nov. 11, 2010 file photo, Paul Reubens, in character as Pee-wee Herman, attends an event for “The Pee-wee Herman Show” on Broadway.

He became the frequent butt of late-night talk show jokes and the perception of Reubens immediately changed.

“The moment that I realized my name was going to be said in the same sentence as children and sex, that’s really intense,” Reubens told NBC in 2004. “That’s something I knew from that very moment, whatever happens past that point, something’s out there in the air that is really bad.”

Reubens said he got plenty of offers to work, but told the AP that most of them wanted to take “advantage of the luridness of my situation”,” and he didn’t want to do them.

“It just changed,” he said. “Everything changed.”

He did take advantage of one chance to poke fun at his tarnished image. Just weeks after his arrest, he would open the MTV Video Music Awards, walking on to the stage alone and saying, “Heard any good jokes lately?” (Herman appearances on MTV had fueled Pee-wee’s popularity in the early 1980s.)

In 2001, Reubens was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of child pornography after police seized images from his computer and photography collection, but the allegation was reduced to an obscenity charge and he was given three years probation.

Born Paul Rubenfeld in Peekskill, New York, in 1952, the eldest of three kids, he grew up in Sarasota where his parents ran a lamp store and he put on comedy shows for neighbor kids.

After high school he sought to study acting. He spent a year at Boston University, and was then turned down by the Juilliard School and Carnegie-Mellon University. So he enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts. That would lead to appearances at local comedy clubs and theaters and joining the Groundlings.

“Paul’s contributions to comedy and entertainment have left a lasting impact on the world, and he will be greatly missed by all in the Groundlings community,” the group said in a statement.

After the 1991 arrest, he would spend the decade playing primarily non-Pee-wee characters, including roles in Burton’s 1992 movie “Batman Returns,” the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” film and a guest-star run on the TV series “Murphy Brown.”

He also appeared in the 1999 comedy film “Mystery Men” and Johnny Depp’s 2001 drug-dealer drama “Blow.”

Reubens — who never lost his boyish appearance even in his 60s, would slowly re-introduce Pee-wee, eventually doing a Broadway adaptation of “The Pee-wee Herman Show” in 2010, and the 2016 Netflix movie.